Horror games are all the rage these days, with games like Outlast and Five Nights at Freddy's delivering scares to hordes of players. However, before the horror genre's recent revival, there were plenty of games out there that scared players.
These moments in gaming shocked us with how creepy they were. The developers, sometimes unintentionally, managed to get under our skin in some strange ways. We're still thinking about these scares even years later.
Final Fantasy 6: Doom GazeThe skies were usually safe in Final Fantasy 6. Players could hop in their airship and fly across the world without worrying about any monsters. However, halfway through the game, Doom Gaze was unleashed. At any moment, players could be attacked by this monster while in flight. You couldn't actually see him flying around so there was no way to avoid him. Doom Gaze made flying into an unexpectedly tense experience.
Star Fox: A Face Only Nightmares Could LoveWhat the heck was that supposed to be? Andross was supposed to be a simian antagonist to Fox McCloud, but that giant polygonal head at the end of Star Fox on the SNES was nothing more than a creepy depiction from the nightmare warehouse. The giant, empty level and Andross' all-encompassing control of the screen-space made this boss a sort of weird representation of what you mind find beyond the void of a blackhole or something. The concept of this giant head that was in some alternate dimension was strange and unnerving, but leave it to Nintendo to find a way to get a colorful game full of chipper animals to give kids nightmares.
Mario: Swim, Mario, Swim!Nintendo is known for making family-friendly games, but that doesn't mean some of their titles contain some strangely disturbing elements. One of the most tragic, frightening and horrifying things that in Mario games has been... swimming. It's not just the swimming, it's the fact that it's so easy to drown. In the 2D games it felt like Mario was always being weighed down and you were always on the verge of falling out of the screen. In the 3D version of Mario there was that terrifying notion that swept over you when the power-bar ran out and you saw Mario struggle for oxygen, choking and gagging before going limp and dying. And this was supposed to be a game for kids?!
Tomb Raider 2: That Damn ButlerTomb Raider 2's tutorial let Lara Croft explore her mansion. Wherever the player went, though, they were followed by her elderly butler Winston. No matter how fast and far they ran, Winston would find them. His supernatural tracking skills, along with his orc-like appearance and the endless clinking of his tea platter, terrified many players. Fortunately, they quickly learned that they could lock him in the mansion's freezer.
World Of Warcraft: C'ThunIn the early years of World of Warcraft, one of the most challenging raid bosses was C'Thun in Temple of Ahn'Qiraj. He was frightening to look at, with his barbed tentacles and massive, slitted eyes. However, what was more impressive was how he managed to scare players before he actually appeared. He would randomly whisper to individual players while they were fighting their way through the Temple. Imagine playing WoW late at night with your headphones on. You're falling asleep while healing up the other raid members and suddenly you hear someone whisper "YOUR HEART WILL EXPLODE." Words can't express how creepy that is.
Metal Gear Solid: Elevator SurpriseYou just got the stinger rocket launcher, battled a Hind helicopter and felt pretty badass doing it. So why is it that there's this really creepy feeling irking you as you step into a seemingly empty elevator? Well, maybe because the elevator isn't empty! This mini-event in the original Metal Gear Solid caused lots of panic and fear in gamers as Octacon radioed Snake, letting him know that the elevator that he just stepped on wasn't empty. The concept of an empty looking elevator not being empty was cause enough to send shivers down the spines of gamers. Turns out it was just a handful of guys in camouflage suits. Still... that empty elevator that wasn't empty!